Small Wars Journal
  • “For Dave Dilegge and Bill Nagle, founders and editors of Small Wars Journal. They gave the counterguerrilla underground a home, at a time when misguided leaders banned even the word ‘insurgency,’ though busily losing to one. Scholars, warriors, and agitators, Dave and Bill laid the foundation for battlefield success: our generation owes them a debt of gratitude.”
    -- David Kilcullen ('Counterinsugency' Dedication)
  • "It is easier to get permission to put a hellfire on the forehead of a terrorist than it is to get permission to put a message between his ears."
    -- Anonymous PSYOP Officer (H/T Dave Maxwell)
  • “Tunnel systems and irregular urban warfare are essentially advanced methods of cover and concealment. Given that the mission of the infantry is to “locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver,” if the enemy can prevent us from locating him or closing with him, it will be nearly impossible for us to destroy him.”
    -- William Birdzell
  • “With no other security forces on hand, U.S. military was left to confront, almost alone, an Iraqi insurgency and a crime rate that grew worse throughout the year, waged in part by soldiers of the disbanded army and in part by criminals who were released from prison.”
    -- John Spratt
  • “The Vietnam War was arguably the most traumatic experience for the United States in the twentieth century. That is indeed a grim distinction in a span that included two world wars, the assassinations of two presidents and the resignation of another, the Great Depression, the Cold War, racial unrest, and the drug and crime waves.”
    -- Donald M. Goldstein

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Now available at Amazon - Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities provides a foundation for understanding urban operations and sustaining urban warfare research. This Small Wars Journal (SWJ) Anthology documents over a decade of writings on urban conflict. In addition to essays originally published at SWJ it adds new content including an introduction by the editors, a preface on “Blood and Concrete” by David Kilcullen, a foreword "Urban Warfare Studies" by John Spencer, a postscript “Cities in the Crossfire: The Rise of Urban Violence” by Margarita Konaev, and an afterword “Urban Operations: Meeting Challenges, Seizing Opportunities, Improving the Approach” by Russell W. Glenn. These essays frame the discussion found in the collection’s remaining 49 chapters. Blood and Concrete continues the legacy of Small Was Journal's coverage of urban operations, conflict and combat. - Dave Dilegge, Robert J. Bunker, John P. Sullivan, and Alma Keshavarz, Editors.


A Wyoming Air National Guard C-130 aircraft fires off flares over Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center, Wyo., 24 September 2019, during a training mission. Photo by Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Jon Alderman.

"Small wars are operations undertaken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation."

-- Small Wars Manual, 1940

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by Thomas A. Drohan | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 7:28pm | 0 comments
China is wielding strategies that envelop opponents with an all-effects all-domain approach to national power. These effects are neither precise nor pre-ordained because they occur in an uncertain information environment that encompasses behavior by all sensors – living, or artificial. Drawing from a rich tradition of hybrid stratagems and holistic information, China’s leaders use a variety of asymmetric approaches that exploit weaknesses in opponents’ strategies.
by Matthew E. Miller | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 5:43pm | 0 comments
Offensive cyber, EW, and counterspace operations against sustainment enterprise could create a ‘shockwave’ across the theater of operations. The TSC G-2 sections need to emphasize analysis and collection against these multi-domain threats to the sustainment forces from both inside and outside of theater.
by Robert Boudreau, by Don Newberry Jr., by Richard Phillips | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 12:34am | 0 comments
For the last hundred years, where diplomacy has failed and warfare has resulted, CA has repeatedly been revitalized and integrated with military operations during wartime. However, on the present-day battlefield, where open conflict is decreasing but “gray zone” activities are increasing, CA personnel should be utilized to undermine U.S. competitors’ attempts to build military, diplomatic, economic, and informational advantages in regions of U.S. interest.
by Keith Nightingale | Sun, 10/13/2019 - 2:45pm | 0 comments
With each generation, its soldiers are issued the new cutting-edge weapons to defend or destroy as required. From rocks to spears to nuclear weapons, mankind has progressed in the technology of killing. It has permitted its users to evolve from the highly personal closeup application to the most distant and dispassionate destruction from afar. However, one combatant tool always remains resident regardless of the evolution of time and generations and that is the power of thought.
by Shantanu Roy-Chaudhury | Wed, 10/09/2019 - 3:14pm | 0 comments
The Indian Ocean has gained geostrategic importance due to the volume of trade that passes through it. At the same time, China’s Belt and Road Initiative is increasing Chinese influence in numerous countries in Asia and across the globe. Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to examine how the growing Chinese footprint in Sri Lanka and the Maldives can have implications for India’s national security and how the Chinese expansion is of strategic importance to New Delhi.
by Franklin C. Annis | Tue, 10/08/2019 - 8:57pm | 0 comments
Currently the development of Combat Medics is too heavily focused within the Institutional domain and needs the immediate introduction of the Operational domain to improve the abilities of Army medics. Offering supporting materials for Self-Development could further optimize the performance of Combat Medics on the modern battlefield.
by Andrew Narloch | Mon, 10/07/2019 - 12:29pm | 0 comments
A hyper-mobile defense’s goal is to shock, not destroy, the enemy through rapid, repeated, multi-directional engagements. The fixed objectives serve to lure in vulnerable tanks, helicopters and armored personnel carriers along pre-planned routes, making them easy targets for the small strike teams. While this shock technique did not entirely destroy the Israeli force, it did disrupt the attacker’s central strategy of a swift, air-covered, armored penetration. The desire of achieving a quick, comprehensive strike for effect has long been the linchpin of effective urban conquest.
by Assad A. Raza | Mon, 10/07/2019 - 12:31am | 10 comments
The Army published its Army Total Force Policy in 2012 to define steps and guidance to integrate all components to meet DoD’s goal for a total force. U.S. Army Civil Affairs should take the NCFA recommendations and the lessons learned by other services and from those Army units participating in the AUPP to develop a Civil Affairs Total Force Policy.
by Justin Magula | Sun, 10/06/2019 - 3:48am | 0 comments
North Korea has always relied on provocation to preserve regime stability. The Kim regime refuses to recognize the 1953 armistice as an end of the Korean War and desires to reunite the peninsula under North Korean control. Even in the face of international pressure, North Korea has developed nuclear weapons to combat threats to the regime and maintain Kim’s survival.
by Mahmut Cengiz | Sun, 10/06/2019 - 1:21am | 0 comments
Small Wars Journal on July 7, 2019 published this author’s article[1] “Who Was Behind the July 15, 2016 Military Uprising in Turkey?” and then retweeted it on July 15, 2019 the third anniversary of the coup attempt. In the meantime, a reader of Small Wars Journal, who is referred to hereafter as respondent X, who is from the United Kingdom (UK), reached out to article’s author to speak about the coup attempt and article.

Blog Posts

by Associated Press | Tue, 10/15/2019 - 2:13am | 0 comments
"The Syrian fighters vowed to kill "pigs" and "infidels," paraded their Kurdish captives in front of cameras and, in one graphic video, fired several rounds into a man lying on the side of a highway with his hands bound behind his back."
by Associated Press, by The Wall Street Journal | Tue, 10/15/2019 - 12:22am | 0 comments
"The administration’s first punitive actions against Turkey and its effort to start talks came amid widespread criticism on Capitol Hill that Mr. Trump’s decision left Kurdish militias that had aided the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State open to attack."
by The Diplomat | Tue, 10/15/2019 - 12:12am | 0 comments
"After fading in the wake of 2014’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the TTP is poised for a resurgence."
by DoD News | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 8:37pm | 0 comments
Continue on for a transcript of Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper's 14 October statement.
by The Wall Street Journal | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 7:55pm | 0 comments
"That pact transformed the Kurds, an erstwhile partner of the U.S. in the fight against Islamic State, into a force more closely aligned with Russia and Iran, as the U.S. began withdrawing its troops from northeastern Syria."
by Agence France-Presse | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 4:37pm | 0 comments
"Since the outbreak of Syria's brutal civil war, the United States has stated several objectives -- destroying Islamic State extremists, easing from power President Bashar al-Assad and limiting Iran's influence. In just one decision, President Donald Trump may have undone all three."
by The British Broadcasting Corporation | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 2:51pm | 0 comments
"It has taken a week to reshape the map of the Syrian war, in the seven days since President Donald Trump used what he called his 'great and unmatched wisdom' to order the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria."
by Military Times | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 2:24pm | 0 comments
"The SDF’s demise threatens to erase gains over the last five years that have forced ISIS militants into hiding in remote pockets in the desert and across the Euphrates."
by The Wall Street Journal | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 2:11pm | 0 comments
"Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who last week warned that the U.S. would apply sanctions if Turkey proceeded with a military strike in northern Syria, said his office was to present President Trump with retaliatory options."
by The British Broadcasting Corporation | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 12:56pm | 0 comments
"Syria's army has started to reach the north of the country, hours after the government agreed to help Kurdish forces facing Turkey. State media said government forces, which are backed by Russia, had entered the strategic town of Tal Tamer, 30km (19 miles) south of the Turkish border."
by Associated Press | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 1:32am | 0 comments
"From Syria to Ukraine, new fault lines and tensions are offering the Kremlin fresh opportunities to expand its clout and advance its interests."
by The Wall Street Journal | Mon, 10/14/2019 - 12:08am | 0 comments
"Hundreds of foreign women and children linked to Islamic State escaped from a camp in northeastern Syria when Turkish-backed fighters attacked it, U.S.-backed Kurdish forces controlling the area said, raising fears that the Turkish offensive will undermine American efforts to eliminate the extremist group."
by The British Broadcasting Corporation | Sun, 10/13/2019 - 5:21pm | 0 comments
"The Kurds in Syria say the Syrian government has agreed to send its army to the northern border to try to halt Turkey's offensive against them. Syrian state media earlier reported that government forces had been deployed to the north."
by Voice of America | Sun, 10/13/2019 - 4:37pm | 0 comments
The U.S. is withdrawing all remaining troops from northern Syria, as President Donald Trump said Sunday it was "very smart... for a change" to not be involved in the fighting sparked by Turkey's onslaught against the U.S.'s long-time battlefield ally, Kurdish fighters.
by The Wall Street Journal | Sun, 10/13/2019 - 3:25pm | 0 comments
"U.S. officials and representatives of the Afghan Taliban have begun discussing ways to revive a peace process after talks fell apart last month, according to people familiar with the discussions."